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Failure to Conduct Criminal Background Check Showed Negligence

This court case demonstrates the need for churches to properly screen candidates for youth and children’s positions.

Key point 10-04. A church may be liable on the basis of negligent selection for a worker’s molestation of a minor if the church was negligent in the selection of the worker. Negligence means a failure to exercise reasonable care, and so negligent selection refers to a failure to exercise reasonable care in the selection of the worker. Liability based on negligent selection may be imposed upon a church for the acts of employees and volunteers.

Key point 10-07. A church may exercise reasonable care in selecting ministers or other church workers but still be responsible for their misconduct if it “retained” them after receiving information indicating that they posed a risk of harm to others.

A federal court in Illinois ruled that failing to conduct a background check on a new employee hired to work in a children’s hospital was, by itself, evidence of negligence, exposing ...

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